Judith Ortiz Cofer

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Judith Ortiz Cofer
Judith Ortiz Cofer.jpg
Judith Ortiz Cofer
Born February 24, 1952
Hormigueros, Puerto Rico
Nationality Puerto Rican
Period 10
Genre Poetry, short stories, autobiography, essays, young adult novels
Notable works A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood

Judith Ortiz Cofer[note 1] (born in 1952) is a Puerto Rican author. Her work spans a range of literary genres including poetry, short stories, autobiography, essays, and young-adult fiction.

Early years[edit]

Judith Ortiz Cofer was born in Hormigueros, Puerto Rico, on February 24, 1952.[1] She moved to Paterson, New Jersey with her family in 1956. They often made back-and-forth trips between Paterson and Hormigueros. In 1967, her family moved to Augusta, Georgia, where she attended Butler High School. Ortiz Cofer received a B.A. in English from Augusta College, and later an M.A. in English from Florida Atlantic University.[2]

Ortiz Cofer's literary work[edit]

Ortiz Cofer's work can largely be classified as creative nonfiction. Her narrative self is strongly influenced by oral storytelling, which was inspired by her grandmother, an able storyteller in the tradition of teaching through storytelling among Puerto Rican women. Ortiz Cofer's autobiographical work often focuses on her attempts at negotiating her life between two cultures, American and Puerto Rican, and how this process informs her sensibilities as a writer. Her work also explores such subjects as racism and sexism in American culture, machismo and female empowerment in Puerto Rican culture, and the challenges diasporic immigrants face in a new culture.[2] Among Ortiz Cofer's more well known essays are "The Story of My Body" and "The Myth of the Latin Woman," both reprinted in The Latin Deli.

In 1984, Ortiz Cofer joined the faculty of the University of Georgia, where she is currently Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing. In April 2010, Ortiz Cofer was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.[3]

In 1994, she became the first Hispanic to win the O. Henry Prize for her story “The Latin Deli”. In 1996, Ortiz Cofer and illustrator Susan Guevara became the first recipients of the Pura Belpre Award for Hispanic children’s literature.[4]

List of Works[edit]

Multi-Genre Works[edit]

  • The Latin Deli: Prose and Poetry (1993), U of Georgia Press, ISBN 978-0820315560.[5] Second edition: (2010), University of Georgia Press, ISBN 9780820336213
  • The Year of Our Revolution: New and Selected Stories and Poems (1998), Arte Publico Press, ISBN 1558852247
  • Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood (1990)


  • A Love Story Beginning in Spanish (2005), University of Georgia Press, ISBN 0820327425
  • Reaching for the Mainland and Selected New Poems (1995), Bilingual Press, ISBN 092753455X
  • Terms of Survival (1987), Arte Publico Press, ISBN 1558850791


Works on Writing[edit]

  • Lessons from a Writer’s Life: Readings and Resources for Teachers and Students (2011), co-authored by Harvey Daniels, Penny Kittle, Carol Jago, and Judith Ortiz Cofer, Heinemann, ISBN 0325031460
  • Woman in Front of the Sun: On Becoming A Writer (2000), University of Georgia Press, ISBN 0820322423
  • Sleeping with One Eye Open: Women Writers and the Art of Survival (1999), editor Marilyn Kallet, University of Georgia Press, ISBN 0820321532
  • Conversations with the World: American Women Poets and Their Work (1998), contributor Toi Derricotte, Trilogy Books, ISBN 0962387991

Young Adult Literature[edit]

  • If I Could Fly (2011), Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 0374335176
  • Call Me Maria (2004), Scholastic, ISBN 0439385784
  • The Meaning of Consuelo (2003), Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN B008AFRU8W
  • Riding Low on the Streets of Gold; Latino Literature for Young Adults (2003), Arte Publico Press, ISBN 1558853804
  • An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio (1995), Scholastic, ISBN 0531068978

Children’s Books[edit]

  • The Poet Upstairs (2012), illustrated by Oscar Ortiz, Piñata Books, ISBN 1558857044
  • Animal Jamboree/La Fiesta De Los Animales: Latino Folktales / Leyendas (2012), Piñata Books, ISBN 1558857435
  • A Bailar!/Let’s Dance (2011), illustrated by Christina Ann Rodriguez, Piñata Books, ISBN 1558856986


  • The Native Dancer (1995), ASIN: B00I6G9STO
  • Peregrina (1986), Poets of the Foothills Art Center, Riverstone Press, ISBN 0936600063
  • Latin Women Pray (1980), The Florida Arts Gazette Press, ASIN: B008A2A5GY


  • Triple Crown: Chicano, Puerto Rican, and Cuban-American Poetry (1997), Bilingual Press, ISBN 0916950719
  • The Mercury Reader, A Custom Publication (2005), Pearson Custom Publishing, ISBN 053699840X
  • Quixote Quarterly, Summer 1994 (Vol. 1, No. 1), Chuck Eisman, ISBN 0964219808
  • The Kenyon Review, Summer / Fall 1998 (Vol. 20, No. 3/4). Kenyon College, ASIN: B001NODMH0


See also[edit]


  1. ^
    This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Ortiz and the second or maternal family name is Cofer.


  1. ^ Honoree - Georgia Writers Hall of Fame
  2. ^ a b Judith Ortiz Cofer
  3. ^ "Writers hall picks four inductees". Online Athens (Athens Banner Herald). September 19, 2009. Retrieved 20 September 2009. 
  4. ^ "Hispanic Firsts", By; Nicolas Kanellos, publisher Visible Ink Press; ISBN 0-7876-0519-0; p.40
  5. ^ "The Latin Deli: Prose and Poetry". WorldCat.org. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  6. ^ Amazon.com

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

"The Myth of the Latin Woman"